4 Ways to Make the Most of your Halloween Pumpkins
Halloween isn’t the same without carving a jack o’lantern. But have you ever considered alternate uses for your decorative pumpkins post-Halloween? Just 3.5 ounces of pumpkin provides 100% of the daily value of vitamin A, which is essential for normal vision, fighting infection and healthy skin.
With a little pre-planning before tossing out those pumpkins, you too can reap the benefits that they have to offer.
Roast the Seeds
An ounce of pumpkin seeds gives you close to 20% of your daily requirement for magnesium and zinc. Magnesium plays a vital role in nerve, muscle and cardiac function, and also maintains strong bones. Meanwhile, zinc aids immunity, healing and fertility.
To prepare seeds from pumpkins, scoop them out, wash off any remaining flesh, boil for 10 minutes to soften and dry on a towel. You can then roast the pumpkin seeds with a olive oil and salt in the oven at 250 degrees F for 45 minutes. Add seeds to salads, granola, smoothies or yogurt!
Bake the Flesh
So many people discard pumpkins once Halloween is over without realizing what they’re missing. Skip the canned stuff and make your own pumpkin purée in a few easy steps.
The flesh of a pumpkin provides a good serving of beta-carotene which your body converts to vitamin A. Use the pumpkin purée in many food recipes including pies, breads, muffins and soups.
Blend it Up
Pumpkin spice everything! Use that purée as an ingredient in fall flavored smoothies. Follow this easy recipe for a drink packed with vitamin A, potassium and fiber.
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large ripe banana
- 1-1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 5 ice cubes
- 1 cup unsweetened soymilk or coconut milk beverage
- 1 tablespoon honey
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Top with a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg. Makes 2 servings.
Make a Mask
Since pumpkins are packed with zinc, antioxidants and vitamins, they help in protecting skin from wrinkles and age spots. They also gently exfoliate, giving a more radiant complexion. Follow these steps for an easy DIY mask:
- Make your base: Whisk together about 1/4 cup of pumpkin purée and one whole egg. The yolk adds nourishment while the white provides a subtle tightening effect to sagging skin.
- Dry skin additive: Add a few teaspoons of honey, which not only seals in moisture but prevents breakouts thanks to its antibacterial properties.
- Oily skin additive: For an astringent effect, mix in a splash of apple cider or cranberry juice.
- Apply: Smooth the pumpkin-y potion over your face, relax for 15 to 20 minutes, and rinse to reveal a brighter, firmer, smoother complexion.
Pumpkins do so much more than foster the spirit of Halloween; they foster good health as well. Looking for more waste-free Halloween ideas? Check out our Pinterest board full of our favorite spooky treats and decor.